EL CERRITO -- Public meetings to discuss the drafts of the city's planned ordinances on single-use bags and food ware (takeout containers at restaurants) will be held at 7 p.m. on June 11 and July 9 in the council chambers at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

The bag ordinance would "Prohibit the free distribution of single-use carryout paper and plastic bags at the point of sale (i.e., checkout) for all retail establishments except restaurants and nonprofit charitable reuse organizations."

Restaurants and other establishments primarily selling cooked or prepared food would be exempt.

Reusable plastic carryout bags would be allowed "if the bags are intended and identified as reusable as defined in the proposed ordinance."

There would also be an exception for paper bags made of at least 40 percent recycled material, as long as the establishment charges five cents per bag.

The food ware ordinance targets expanded polystyrene foam containers by prohibiting food providers from providing EPS containers and requiring them to use "compostable, recyclable or reusable food ware when providing prepared food to customers."

Exemptions from the food ware ordinance would include "cases where the ordinance would cause undue hardship, or when no suitable alternative food ware is available, and other specific cases."

The new rules are intended to reduce waste and encourage reuse.

Details on the ordinances are online at http://ca-elcerrito.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=795.

Written comments on the proposals should be submitted to El Cerrito Environmental Services Division, 10890 San Pablo Ave., by 4 p.m. July 15.